Since 2000, Slinger High School social studies students have been collaborating with local community members to learn more about their community with the help of local historians, local workers, local veterans, the History Center of Washington County, the Slinger Advancement Association, and the Hartford History Room. In 2013, Slinger High School received a grant from the Wisconsin Teachers of Local Culture to document local culture themes with inquiry based instruction with people in the community. That same year, Slinger High School began offering a CAPP Sociology class with leadership from the UW-Oshkosh Sociology Department (Dr. Paul Van Auken, chair) which also focused on community-based research led by teachers, local adults, and SHS students. In 2016-2017 school year, the Wisconsin Humanities Council gave Slinger High School a grant to document Working Lives in Water and Transportation in the Slinger area. Dean Leisgang, of Education Television Productions/NEW, helped students document some of the stories in video while local residents and teachers helped students with research, oral history audio, and text. In 2017-2018, Slinger High School history, sociology, and technical education students received a mini-grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council to continue inquiry based research with a theme of Working Lives: Construction and Trades. Students had access to several of the 2017-2018 high school renovation project workers as well as local workers in construction and trades. Students also researched the history and trends of local subdivisions, houses, construction and trade companies, building suppliers, and more. Sociology students considered Dr. Van Auken's Extended Interaction Theory of Community as it corresponded to the people and place with his quote below:
"The third main element of the Extended ITC framework, Landscape, is meant to encompass the built environment and, importantly, the idea is that the landscape as we know is to a significant degree the result of practices (e.g. ag, industry, construction, preservation/conservation, etc.) by people there over time." Paul Van Auken (2017)
Social studies students looked at various capital types (built, social, cultural, political, financial, human, natural) that help sustain a community. They learned about agents of socialization and how people learn skills and work roles. They paid particular attention to connections made between individuals and groups. Interviews and job shadows with some of the people who work behind the scenes to construct and innovate in the Slinger area were essential.
"Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both."
C. Wright Mills
"From the outside you see a building in the process of going up, then it's done, just like we see the forest as a whole, but not each individual tree involved. Its important to get in, to talk to people and observe behind the scenes, and see what is all involved to make that huge creation. There are so many hands involved that most people don't even realize, from the site pick, creation online, blueprints for workers, and so much more." Slinger sociology student after spring site visits to construction sites (April 2018)
"It helps us to understand how the community functions and works together to stay functioning. We can see how different businesses come together and collaborate and create a balanced economy so when you're driving down the road and you see a building you can think about all the people involved in making that come together." Slinger sociology student after spring site visits to construction sites (April 2018)
"There are many pieces to the puzzle, and if one is missing, the puzzle will not be completed correctly. That is why companies, such as Quest Engineering, Keller Construction, and EH Wolf, have to be successful in all areas of their line of work (i.e. marketers, financers, project managers, designers, architects, drivers, salesmen, craftsmen), and all of these jobs/duties have to be fulfilled/completed in order to succeed as a company." Slinger sociology student after site visits" Slinger sociology student after spring site visits to construction sites (April 2018)
Special thanks to:
*Heartland Construction, J.H.Hassinger, Inc., Miron Construction Company, Inc., Catalyst Construction, Dale Anderson Masonry, Schweitzer Electric, Bray Architecture, Germantown Iron and Steel, Quest Engineering, Keller Construction, Lammscapes, E.H. Wolf and Sons, the Slinger School District, the Slinger Technical Education and Social Studies Departments, the Slinger Super Speedway, Memorial Go-Kart, Inc., the Wisconsin Humanities Council, UW-Oshkosh Sociology Department, the History Center of Washington County, the Hartford History Room, Brandt Printing, Dean Leisgang, Nancy Schilling-Genz, Bette Weninger, Heather Pryzbylski, Patrica Lutz, Dr. Paul Van Auken, Dr. Mary Hoefferle, Dr. Anne Pryor, Ruth Olson, Mark Wagler, Bill Collar, Daren Sievers, Jim Curler, Phil Ourada, Russ Hermann, Duane Apel, Matt Kolpack, Matt Hansen, Brent Hug, Nate Grimm, Emily Lofy, Mike Hamm, Jason Lemke, Nathan Schieve, Mike Kirsch, Jim Hassinger, Adam Schweitzer, Mike Stroik, Shawn Lastovich, Peter Fritz, Hunter Milner, Greg Scherger, Brock Noreen, Larry Gundrum, Dave Gutbrod, Rex Melius, James Kirsch, Jr, Rick Strupp, Matt Burow, John Fuehrer, Dave Rhoda, Lisa and Dale Anderson, Todd Thelen, Justin Poenitsch, Leonard Reimer, Brandon Mennicke, Kathy Fies, John Brandl, Craig Rafko, Fr. Rick Stoffel, Chris Bayley, Aaron Nagel, Sue and Blake Stoffel, Chris Burns, Chris Lefeber, Todd Lefeber, Angie Lefeber, Craig Wolf, Steve Kreuser, Brad Gulbrandson, Dave Uttech, Nathan Laurent, Jim Dallas, Chris Manske, Josh Matzatko, Kyle Vanderloop, Katie Mangin, Peggy Bergerud, A.J. Brandt, Jenny Zuern, Adam Treesh, Jared Christopherson, Michelle Disterhaft, Jim Wiedmeyer, Mark Tennies, Matt Tennies, Luke Tennies, Kevin Tennies, the Mantoan family, Harry Roethle, the Horsch and Miller staff, West Bend Daily News, John Lamm, Crystal DuPont, Hanno Weber, Kaleigh Gamache, Alyssa Koepke, Abby Jaqua, and anyone else who added perspective or shared time with students and teachers to help on this project.
To add ideas for future research, please contact
Photos from Slinger Area History/Culture Night above. Thank you to Aisha Linden, Kirsten Dempsey, Brittany Opitz, Sarah Schodron, Erin Gillen, and other photographers.